E. Moses and Son – the tailors who pioneered mass-market men’s tailoring? | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 5, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 2050-0726
  • E-ISSN: 2050-0734



This article concerns the nineteenth century tailoring firm of E. Moses and Son and explores their significance in laying the foundations for modern mass-market retailing in men’s fashion. E Moses and Son were in operation between 1829 and 1884, and in the 55 years that they were in business, they achieved considerable success by bringing together new technologies and ideas of the time. Through their revolutionary attitude to commerce, E. Moses and Son pioneered a modern and more democratic fashion platform and, despite their virtual absence from fashion history, they hold an important place in the history of fashion and of commercial progress. Against a backdrop of social and economic change, brought about by industrialization and a re-structuring of the traditional English class system, Elias Moses and his son Isaac recognized a growing appetite for the consumption of new, affordable and accessible fashionable clothing. They pioneered a new business model that reduced the cost of fashions that operated on low margins and high-turn-over. This research explores how this was achieved by implementing new methods of production through innovative use of display and promotion, and perhaps most significantly, by devising an aggressive marketing strategy that appealed to a mass market by promoting the idea of classlessness. In their heyday, E. Moses and Son played many important roles: during the 1840s they became the preeminent men’s tailoring business in London, pioneering new methods of production and promotion; during the 1850s they also became fashion connoisseurs, offering guidance on style and fashions of the day. By the 1860s, they began to theorize about the fashion, taking ideas that contemplated fashion philosophically and simplifying and re-branding them for mass consumption. E. Moses and Son may have existed for a relatively short moment in time, however, their methods have had a lasting impact on the development of modern mass-market tailoring.


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